I spend most of my time in the trenches doing link building. I’ve recently been looking around at tools available to improve my processes and scale up my efforts. So I spent this week poking around Raven internet marketing tools.
I think I used my first “Raven” tool back in 2004, back when Raven was Sitening and they were developing tools like validation checkers. Being from Nashville myself, it’s cool seeing what they’ve put together.
Instead of giving an overview of just features, I want to share some tactical ways Raven can be used in a link building campaign.
Easily one of the best features of Raven is their tool integration, which can help you maintain a reliable workflow. Instead of patching together data and storing it in multiple formats, Raven provides a system for keeping all your data centralized.
So much of link building is about scale. Anything that can minimize the time you spend on the accounting of link building will open up your time for high win activities. Their toolbar allows you to easily manage information without having to tab over to a spreadsheet or other application. Efficiency FTW.
#2 Team Management
When working with a team of link builders, project management is important. Successful SEO is about getting $#!^ done. You don’t want team members doubling up on efforts or having miscommunication result in the loss of link building opportunities. Raven allows multiple team members to use the tool, leave notes, and search the work of others.
#3 Manage Contacts
There are many reasons I need to contact people for a link building project. Maybe I’m negotiating a guest blogging opportunity from a site like My Blog Guest, or I’ve targeted several niche blogs to pitch an infographic, or maybe, gasp, I need to negotiate a link purchse.
When scaling link building, or working with a team, it becomes difficult to manage all of these contacts efficiently. Raven works to solve this with their Contact Manger, which, like everything else, directly integrates with their other tools.
#4 Finding Contact Information
This flows naturally from the last point. Before you can form a relationship with a site, you have to get in touch with them. Raven provides a tool to make this easier: their find contacts tool. As Jon mentioned in the launch post, this is a new feature and has some limitations. I suspect it to get better in time.
If you’re struggling to get in touch with webmasters, this is one more tool to help you get the information you need. Skill in hunting down contact information can result in major wins for your link building campaign. I recently had a client's content get coverage on a major site, but they didn't link to us. It took about 5 minutes of hunting to find the author's email, and a few email exchanges later, I scored my client the link. This link is now sitting on a 50 PA page on a 85 DA site. For that particular site, the Raven find contact tool does return their information. A quick Google search for the name brings up their Twitter, which leads to their email.
#5 Manage A Persona
I’m usually not doing outreach from my personal email, but through an account on behalf of a client. There may also be more than one person involved in the outreach efforts. For this, Raven has provided a Persona Manager, which allows you to track information about this persona. You could also use this to help manage all your attractive girl Twitter accounts, which we all know have a much higher success rate than male profiles. ;)
#6 Competitive Link Analysis
Competitive link analysis is a significant part of what I do as a link builder. I may be breaking down how a site is ranking in a particular SERPS or mining their back links for prospective link sources. Competitive link analysis can also out some interesting SEO strategies, which was the subject of my post on Mormon SEO.
Raven’s backlink explorer pulls link data from MajesticSEO and sorts by ACRank. Although I’m a big fanboy of SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer, it’s useful to have additional link data. I’m less accustom to using ACRank as a metric, but Raven does allow exporting.
#7 Mining Prospect
Raven provides a couple tools to help you find prospective link sources. Their Backlink Explorer allows you to hunt through other’s backlinks. The Site Finder helps you find link hubs as well. And since the tools are all integrated, prospecting can flow right into engagement via the Contact Manager and the progress tracked through the Link Manager.
A lot more
This is no where near an exhaustive list of Raven’s usage. I recommend doing a search on their site for “Tip Tuesday” for lots of guides on using their tools.
Overall, I’m happy with Raven as a tool to manage link building campaigns and the workflow associated with the process. I think it’s worth giving it some time to check out. They'll even let you try it for free.
If you'd like to learn more about link building, we're hosting two Linkbuilding Seminars in London and New Orleans this year. A whole seminar just on link building.